Singapore National Games: TV coverage sparked winning combination for badminton duo

Brothers Yap Wee Teck (left) and Yap Wee Jin will defend their badminton men's doubles title at the Singapore National Games. Communication has been key to their success.
Brothers Yap Wee Teck (left) and Yap Wee Jin will defend their badminton men's doubles title at the Singapore National Games. Communication has been key to their success.PHOTO COURTESY OF SPORT SINGAPORE

When brothers Yap Wee Jin, 51, and Yap Wee Teck, 47, played a badminton doubles match for the first time more than 20 years ago, "a lot of quarrelling" occurred, recalled the younger Yap.

So they ceased their partnership then, but continued sparring with each other recreationally.

Eventually, the duo put their differences aside to form a winning combination - they are the defending Singapore National Games badminton men's doubles champions.

Said Wee Teck: "Back then when we first played together, my older brother was the one who told me I wasn't playing well.

"So we stopped and didn't partner each other for about 18 years."

Older brother Wee Jin added: "But four years ago we decided to play together at an invitational tournament, and we found that we started winning matches.

"We've improved over the years in terms of our individual skills, so now we can complement each other's playing styles."

The elder Yap, who works at a manufacturing plant, decided to try his hand at badminton after watching the Thomas Cup on television in the 1970s.

Chuckling, he said: "I bought a pair of rackets for $5, and since they came in a pair, I had to pick someone to practise with... and that's how I roped my younger brother into the sport."

Although Wee Teck's foray into badminton began as a leisure activity, he soon realised the sport was a big help for his health.

"I used to have asthma attacks once a week when I was young, but after I started playing more badminton, the attacks happened less frequently - maybe once a month," said the design engineer.

"Now it's almost nothing, because I've been playing badminton for so many years."

Apart from curbing his asthma attacks, the sport has also provided Wee Teck with another benefit - quality time with his brother.

Said Wee Jin: "We see each other more often because of this shared activity.

"Otherwise I would probably only see my brother once every two or three months.

"Now, we see each other at least once a week, and even more when we have badminton competitions together."

One key to the Yap brothers' new-found winning ways is their ability to exchange tips and other information during games.

Wee Jin added: "My brother does make very good points (during games), so I try to make the adjustments he suggests.

"We're brothers and have nothing to hide from each other, so I take his advice and try to improve from there."

Nicole Chia

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 06, 2016, with the headline 'TV coverage sparked a winning combination'. Print Edition | Subscribe